Your Ultimate Guide To: Rome


Rome is one of those cities that most people have on their bucket list; I mean, why wouldn’t you? With beautiful weather, delicious food and culture that spans millennia, it’s no wonder millions of people flock there every year, making it the EU’s second most visited city after Paris. Like most other big cities, the Eternal City has been eerily quiet over the past 18 months but now travel is starting to become possible again, we wanted to give you the Ultimate Guide to Rome for when you finally make that bucket list trip! It’s true that Rome has some of the most visited tourist attractions in the entire world, and rightly so as they are simply mesmerising to behold, but it also has some lesser known spots off the beaten track that are steeped in equal amounts of Roman charm. So grab a cuppa and let us take you through the hotspots you should definitely see, as well as the way to find Rome’s secret spots that you simply have to make time for, and of course, where to lay your head after all the exploring. Let Rome steal your heart as you kick back, relax and let its beauty consume you!

What to See and Do

The Colosseum

No visit to the city truly feels like you have visited Rome without a trip to the Colosseum. Built almost two centuries ago during the Flavian Dynasty, the Colosseum became the largest ancient amphitheatre to exist, and remains to be the largest amphitheatre in the world today that is still standing. If you can, try to book tickets to go inside the Colosseum and walk in the footsteps of the Roman’s, because there truly is nothing like it in the world.

Stepping foot inside this incredible piece of ancient architecture is astonishing - this is where emperors of the Eternal City sat with the Vestal Virgins to watch gladiators fight, wild animals be hunted and dramas unfold. Although most of us would not be as entertained as they were by all of those, the fact that it happened, almost two thousand years ago, with up to 80,000 spectators filling the seats built from the same rock as the ground on which you could be standing, within a structure that still stands, never fails to amaze. It’s no wonder it was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, because it truly will take your breath away!

The Trevi Fountain

Built in the second half of the 18th century, the Trevi Fountain is an iconic symbol of Rome, and one of the most famous fountains in the world. Built at the intersection of Rome’s three most important roads at the time, the name Trevi comes from the two Italian words for three and roads, “tre” and “vie” and still stands as a crossroads in one of Rome’s most bustling neighbourhoods.

Alongside its history, comes the legend and folklore. People have been throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain for a long time to make a wish, and somewhere along the way the folklore developed to involve three coins and three separate wishes - throw one to return to Rome (as the original legend says), throw two to wish for love and throw three to wish for marriage. But you have to do it the right way in order for it to work! Back to the fountain, using your right hand to throw over your left shoulder, and a separate throw for each wish. Who are we to say that the wishes come true, but what's there to lose? The fountain is closed for an hour three mornings a week to clean it and collect all the coins, so be sure not to schedule your visit during those times!

Vatican City

The home of the Pope and of the Catholic Church, Vatican City is a truly exquisite example of astonishing Roman Architecture. Housing some of Rome’s most well-known religious and cultural sites, visitors to Vatican City can explore the wonders of St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, as well as the Vatican Museums. By its interior measure, St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world, but you don’t have to be religious to appreciate its spectacular grandeur. Beautifully decorated with marble, architectural sculpture, gilding and religious motifs, it is hard to stand beneath the stupendous ceiling and not be in awe of what you see when you look upwards.

One thing you may do a lot within Vatican City is just that, as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is famously known as a cornerstone of renaissance art, with frescoes painted by none other than Michelangelo himself. Taking four years to complete, the scenes depicted most centrally are the nine scenes from the Book of Genesis, with The Creation of Adam being one of Michelangelo’s most well-known pieces of work. Ironically, Michelangelo was reluctant to take on the project as he was primarily a sculptor, and tried to pass it off to a young rival! Now it stands as one of the greatest masterpieces of all time and is nothing short of a marvel to behold. For a deeper look at the brilliance of Renaissance Art and Roman sculptures, the Vatican Museums are ready and waiting with 20,000 works on display. Be sure to schedule a whole day for a visit to Vatican City, and be prepared to be mesmerized by its brilliance!

The Pantheon and Piazza Navona

Once a Roman temple built in honour of their gods and deities, the Pantheon in its current design has stood for almost two thousand years and has been in constant use throughout its history. Of all the Ancient Roman buildings it is one of the best preserved, and is a true wonder to visit. The patterned marble flooring gleams in the light and makes it hard to believe that tens of millions of people have walked across it over the centuries. Although it is now a church for the catholic faith, it is difficult to walk into the Pantheon and not feel the incredible history that surrounds you.

Looking upward, you’ll notice a hole in the centre of the ceiling and you wouldn’t be the only one confused by this - but look around you and you’ll see no windows. This gap is the building’s light source and ventilation system, built into what still remains as the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The level of engineering knowledge, skills and expertise needed for such a creation is phenomenal, and it was built without the assistance of the modern machinery we use today - to stand in the presence of such an incredible architectural feat, it is difficult to not be in awe of that. After a visit to the Pantheon, be sure not to miss Piazza Navona, only a few minutes stroll away. One of Rome’s most beautiful square’s, you’ll have a hard time not feeling Rome’s dolce vita.

Wander the Streets

It would be easy for us to say go to x, y and z that are off Rome’s beaten track, but that would take away from the experience of wandering the city streets, accidentally stumbling upon Rome’s hidden gems. Given that hidden gems are one of the things the Eternal City somehow does extremely well, meandering through its streets without much of a plan is truly the only way to experience Rome’s true self.

Away from the hustle and bustle of tourist hotspots and busy streets, are pockets of history hidden amongst modern civilisation, nuggets of character displayed in local artists drawing on the pavement in chalk, and the infamous Roman charm exuding from the musicians singing and playing instruments on the road side. It is these parts of the city that are quietly and patiently waiting for you to explore, so dust off your best outfit and start getting lost in the beauty of this incredible city - few outsiders will ever understand the secrets of Rome, but getting a glimpse of them and their mesmerising beauty is just as magic. Just be careful not to fall so in love that you never leave! But then if you’ve already thrown a coin into the Trevi Fountain, you’ll be back soon anyway!

Where to Stay

Hotel Eden

Perfectly located in central Rome, Hotel Eden offers everything a traveller could ask for. Raised aristocratically above the top of the Spanish Steps, this stunning hotel gives unparalleled views over the whole Centro Storico to St Peter’s and beyond! Since its restoration by the magnificent Dorchester Collection, the attention to detail in Hotel Eden is truly inspiring. The atmosphere is reminiscent of an elegant private home and has certainly raised the bar when it comes to high-class hospitality. Choose from a series of classic rooms and signature suites including the Bellavista Penthouse Suite and Aurora Terrace Suite, relax in the beds and bathrooms that are fit for kings and indulge in the high windows that ensure beautiful views over the city. If you’re in the mood for a true culinary experience, retreat to La Terraza and enjoy authentic Italian hospitality whilst you tantalise your tastebuds with outstanding Michelin-styled delicacies. Not to mention the hotel restaurant offers unrivalled views over central Rome.

Hotel Vilòn

Once a boarding school, now transformed into a stylish mix of 19th-century grandeur and refreshing modernity, Hotel Vilòn generates an extraordinary new level of luxury within the Eternal City. Beautifully intimate and lavish, with views overlooking Palazzo Borghese, you get the best of both worlds at this charming art-filled boutique. From plant-lined outdoor spaces combined with the proximity to the best Rome has to offer, to its 18 stunning rooms designed by the Roman scenographer Paolo Bonfini, Hotel Vilòn encourages guests to fall in love with the property and its surrounding location. Admire rich hues and lavish marbles, and indulge in the natural light that floods into each space of this hotel for an atmosphere that truly embodies the very essence of a boutique hotel – beauty, discretion, charm and aesthetics. Enjoy the very best of Roman tradition at the Adelaide restaurant and satisfy your palate with a wondrous menu of Mediterranean cuisine with fresh modern twists. Take advantage of its fantastic location and explore the surrounding attractions that’s within walking distance, retreat to the al-fresco outdoor patio, a bohemian space perfect for unwinding with an evening drink, and take in the enchanting Italian night that surrounds you. Hotel Vilòn truly is the crème de la crème of luxury!

Hotel De Russie

If you’re looking for the ultimate romantic Roman escape, look no further than Hotel de Russie. With views onto the enchanting Piazza del Popolo, this stunning hotel represents luxurious Roman living at its finest. Dating back to the 1800s, the hotel's personality and authenticity blends history and contemporary design, classic architecture and art deco furnishings perfectly. Regardless of which room or suite you choose to stay in, each of them offer an alluring glimpse of the Eternal City with different perspectives, leaving you feeling inspired. Be sure to dine at Le Jardin de Russie if you’re searching for a taste of fine Italian cuisine. Located at the foot of the famous Pincio promenade and the enchanting Piazza del Popolo, astonishing dishes created by celebrity Chef Fulvio Pierangelini and his team will leave you feeling truly inspired. This marvellous Mediterranean-tiered garden is the perfect secret-garden-esque space to spend an evening after exploring the city. Think rose bushes, orange trees, twinkling lights, lush greenery and the sounds of mini waterfalls whilst you indulge in the true feeling of Roman living – sounds dreamy, right? So what are you waiting for? Check yourself into Hotel de Russie and experience heaven on earth right here in the heart of Rome. We can already smell those fresh citrus fragrances!

Villa Laetitia

Nestled in the historic and quiet District of Vittoria, perched on the right bank of the Tiber river, discover the fascinating Villa Laetitia. This historic home was restored to its original former Belle Époque glory by Anna Fendi Venturini of the famous Italian giant, Fendi, and now delights and surprises guests in its original splendour. Imagine decadent period furniture that melds with contemporary art pieces and paintings that adorn the halls… Villa Laetitia truly is an outstanding regal Roman villa. Choose from the characteristic Garden House with elegant balcony rooms and restored 1910s private green, to exclusive Villa Apartments with eclectic decor, flamboyant chandeliers and an admirable mix of modernism and design pieces from the 30’s and 40s. Tantalise your tastebuds at the hotel Michelin-star restaurant, Enoteca La Torre, and indulge in the array of haute cuisine and fine attention to detail of every dish. With an innovative take on the traditional Roman cuisine in the restaurant, to an Arabian-style atmosphere in the Piccolo Bar, a stay at Villa Laetitia will leave you feeling truly inspired!

Villa Spalletti Trivelli

If you’re looking for something a little more historical, be sure to visit the magnificent Villa Spalletti Trivelli and experience the opulence of old-time Rome. Located in the very heart of the Eternal City, this stunning hotel will provide everything for your wandering needs. Boasting antique furnishings, rich fabrics, classical artwork and elegant style, feel like a 16th-century Roman Lord in your own stately home as you check yourself into this villa. With over 100 years of cultural heritage, the villa has been passed down by many generations and now offers travellers that true ‘Roman experience’. Indulge in the awe-inspiring architecture and furnishings that surround you, enjoy freshly baked pastries for breakfast every morning, take a dip in the jacuzzi on the rooftop terrace and be inspired by the panoramic views of Rome as you sip a cocktail or two from the bar. Not to mention that Villa Spalletti Trivelli also have their own winery in the vineyards of Umbria. Therefore, if you’re looking to venture out of the city for the day, this charming hotel will take you on a sensory tour of Italy!

recommended HIP Hotels

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